Ricardo Allen, Desmond Trufant on Falcons' turnaround: Execution, disruption

Defensive backs Ricardo Allen and Desmond Trufant have been in Dan Quinn's defensive scheme for five seasons now. They know what it should look like when executed the right way.

That's why the six-game losing skid caught them by surprise.


The Falcons (3-7) weren't playing the way they knew they were capable of and no one could point to why things fell off the rails for as long as they did.

Quinn's defense is centered around two main themes: Getting pressure on the quarterback and creating turnovers. Prior the bye week where the Falcons sat at 1-7, Atlanta was doing neither of those two things to the level they needed to be.

At the midway point in the season, the Falcons ranked last in the league in the sacks with seven and were minus-11 in the turnover margin. Since the second half of the 27-20 loss to the Seahawks on Oct. 27, the Falcons have recorded 13 sacks and forced four interceptions.

As for what's changed with the defense? Trufant said it's pretty simple, actually.

"We've just been executing," Trufant said. "Before we were flat, no energy. Now, you can see it. We're having fun out there and capitalizing on our opportunities. We're just playing our ball."

Following the bye, Quinn announced he moved assistant head coach, Raheem Morris, back to the defensive side of the ball to help fix the communication and technique issues in the secondary. Morris has spent the last three seasons coaching the wide receivers after starting his career in Atlanta as the defensive backs coach in 2015.

The Falcons are no longer blowing assignments in the secondary and the coverage has been significantly improved. In the first eight games, opposing quarterbacks were getting the ball out quickly often times because of the miscues in the secondary.

The improvement in coverage has helped the Falcons generate more of a pass rush. That's been the difference in the last two games and it's exactly the type of "complimentary" defense Quinn wants to see.

"They've been causing disruption," Allen said of the defensive line. "The quarterback can barely keep his eyes down the field. Once he does, the secondary, we've been playing tight enough coverage, people aren't just getting the easy access down the field any more. I think it's a double combination of the reason we're getting interceptions is because last week, the defensive line came out and started showing people if you don't get the ball out fast enough, we're going to get sacks. Today, he was trying to get the ball out, and we were still able to get pressure, and we made plays in the secondary."

Related Content